Friday, 10 August 2012


our manifesto

People need to be inspired. Not sold. Not fed the status quo. Not assigned a number. So what inspires? An Eames chair. An impeccably manicured golf course. An iPhone. A solid wood kitchen drawer that closes noiselessly. A web site where you know exactly where to click.

Whatever that thing is for you, it inspires you because itwas designed for you, on purpose. The truth is that your conference marketing has to become that thing, the thing that inspires because it’s designed for your people, on purpose. It’s always about people. It has to be. Nothing less than that will do. It’s not even worth arguing about.

It’s a fact, and we are boldly declaring it right here: Conferences are about people, and the best way to market to people is through purpose-driven design that deeply impacts people.
So what’s standing in the way? A bunch of fallacies about the role of tradition and expectations. Sometimes a little stubbornness. But most often, you’re just working so hard that you forget to look up and pay attention.

It’s time to pay attention. And this is why.

1. Things aren’t the way they used to be.
They’re just not. Conferences aren’t vacations, and you’re not a tour guide. Brand marks must promote value over venue, because it’s not 1997 anymore and people don’t drop a grand just to see the sun and maybe catch a lecture. Not only that, people are going to register late. They are. Millennials are here to stay, and they like flexibility. They don’t use the same planning tools their parents used. Things move fast: don’t bemoan it. Celebrate it and capitalize on it. (And incidentally, we happen to know exactly what tools Millennials are using.)

2. Nothing is a given.
Each conference must be its own experience. And the way you marketed conferences 10 years ago (five years ago, for that matter) doesn’t work today. But don’t worry: We’ve done the research and mined the feedback, and we know exactly why. We’ll get you on the right track—but first you have to step off the track you’re on and stop counting on tradition to pull you through.

3. The experience got lost.
You are not just marketing an event. Events are everywhere, and often free. No, you are a distributor of knowledge in a specific moment in time. You are creating an experience, made up of lots of little pieces that people watching webinars in their jammies don’t get to be part of. Once attendees are through the doors, you need to move them. You need to show that you get them. And you need to stay in touch with them via the way they prefer to communicate. That’s the only way you’ll help them create a story about your conference that they will remember—and spread. The future of your organization depends on the experiences your conference attendees have: we believe that you need to treat them like they are the most important people in the world (because for you—in this moment—they are).

So, are you acting on purpose, and with purpose? Or has purpose left the building? Are you inspiring—or merely aspiring? And most importantly, what are you doing for your people?

We’re taking a stand for purpose, for people, and for inspiration. We’d love for you to join us. Start where you are, and we’ll meet you. Just start.


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